by kathlaida-princess

Summary: Summer is upon the Ninja World after peace has come, and the Kazekage is invited to spend it with his hyperactive best friend as well as his companions. But the presence of so many other people there (a certain dark-haired boy included) makes Gaara think that maybe he will be the one left out... GaaNaru Fluff, Shounen-Ai and Yaoi too (and Sasuke will play a good role)

Disclaimer: As usual, I'd like to say that the characters, universe and locations found here do not belong to me, they belong to Masashi Kishimoto. I just bring my ideas and plots to the story.

Author's Notes: Hello dear readers! Today I give you the last chapter of this story, the one I hope to make up for the others too :D Once again, it's amazing to see how this idea got embraced and so it is with pleasure that I bring it to its full purpose. I still want to thank DarkAngelJudas, Red Riding Freak (GaaSasu FTW!), YamiTenshi (thanks so much, I'm glad you like the descriptions!), BonneNuit (thanks!), Ugawa (I hope most of this chapter surprises you ^^) and Alexx (I am really, really happy you liked this so much! And the other fics too! Hope this last chapter pleases you ^^) for having reviewed ^^ I cannot say enough how much that means to me :) Well, I will delay no more!

On with the story!



"When I hear the engine pass

I'm kissing you wide

The hissing subsides

I'm in luck…

When the evening reaches here

You're tying me up

I'm dying of love

It's okay…

Always the summers are slipping away…

Find me a way for making it stay…

Always the summers are slipping away…"

(Note: I have put the more mature content of this chapter between the words Khanzaila. So, when you see the word Khanzaila, skip the text until you see the word Khanzaila again to skip the mature part. It's not really that shocking, but some of you might not want to read it, so the warning is here.)

Gaara had never known of the sleep-inducing power of tears. He never really knew that their absence would make his chest so empty, his lungs so lax, taking in the evening's clean air in a rhythm so surprisingly peaceful. Neither had Gaara known that tears were nowhere enough to drown hope or even slow it down, for the same hope he was trying to keep away was now gently reappearing, wrapping this sobbing boy in his last moments of sorrow with compassionate arms, whispering that everything would turn out well through crimson hair as both of them slowly set foot on slumber's sanctuary.

Gaara had never known hope decorated that same sanctuary as she pleased, pinning painfully pleasant dreams on its soft velvet walls, placing all kinds of desirable emotions on its high altar, carving a statue in the middle of it so real and breathtaking that made the dream-Gaara reach out a hand just to stroke its whiskered cheeks.

Gaara's dreams with the blond were foggy and felt like they were being lived in slow motion. In them, the two young men were just talking, sitting next to each other, and Naruto was smiling, and the simplicity of it all, the lightness of that chaste contact alone made the redhead wish for things to be like that again, made him regret how much things had changed since the beginning.

But Gaara didn't know either that time assumed many different scales in different states of consciousness, and the slow movement and rhythm of their interactions was far from the same as reality's. That was probably why it felt so strange that suddenly all the fog had disappeared and was replaced with darkness, Naruto was no longer smiling but was instead shaking the Kazekage's shoulders worriedly, time seemed to be running too fast, hostility seemed to flood in.

"H-hi, Gaara…" came the blond's nervous greeting, as he retreated to the back of the tent.

The redhead immediately sat up and widened his eyes. It took him a while to understand he had been dreaming and was now awake, but the rational part of him was still gathering the basic information of the where, the when and the why.

"Naruto…" Gaara roughly spoke. "Is it anything wrong? And what time is it?" In that darkness, only part of Naruto's face as well as his cerulean lanterns was visible under the moonlight coming from the opened tent, and neither seemed very well.

"It's very early, it must be around 1 a.m., and no, everything's okay…" the other whispered in the same tone he used with the Uchiha some hours before. Gaara's stomach twitched at what must have happened since then. "I'm sorry to wake you up, but… but there's something I really want to tell you…" he went on, now moving his hand to awkwardly scratch his head, still somber. "Could you please come with me?"

A thud in Gaara's heart. So that was it, after all he didn't have that much time to prepare himself… He avoided touching the dark skin below his eyes where the proof of him crying was certainly visible, but he could tell Naruto had already noticed it, and was kept on edge because of it. Still, the redhead couldn't be sad for that moment having arrived so soon: the sooner it was over, the better. The sooner he could begin the healing process and move on with his life, with the sole desire that it at least wouldn't affect their friendship. He lifted his chin and hoped (again hope!) his eyes showed determination as he replied, "Sure."

Naruto nervously nodded and stumbled outside the tent, and while Gaara followed him much more graciously (even though he felt all dizzy on the inside), the blond picked up two glass jars and handed one to him. Now under the cloudless sky, he could see the blond's face was frowning in discomfort and fear, and as he took the jar in his hands, he asked, a bit confused, "What should I do with this?"

A feeble smile managed to emerge from the depressing mask on the other's lips, "We'll be catching fireflies with them…"

And Gaara actually found himself on the verge of crying again, only his face didn't betray anything that time. Was he really so pitiful that he needed that sort of child-like treatment to handle these news? Why did Naruto, of all people, acted like this towards him, he should know how bad it was making him feel…

Still, the determination that had kept the Kazekage alive and actually helped him achieve that post wasn't going to falter because of that (or because of the last glimmers of hope nagging him), and Gaara nodded in reply, tightening the grip around the glass jar as he followed Naruto.

The blond seldom looked behind to see if Gaara was still there, he seemed so scared that even that little gesture would shatter the fragile courage he managed to gather just for that moment. The two of them walked the path the redhead had seen (with great displeasure) Naruto and Sasuke take earlier that day, and Gaara did not want to imagine how the Hokage wannabe found out about these fireflies' existence in there.

As usual, the thick forest surrounded them and rustled at their every movement, and it was too dark to see the many living creatures just speeding by them, adding more energy to the rustling, they could just hear them. Somewhere along the way, however, the sleeping trees gave place to smaller plants, and ahead Gaara could see Naruto had taken them to a lake.

Feeling anxious or not, the redhead couldn't ignore this place's beauty. Maybe it was one more detail to add to the sugar-coating of the entire situation he was on, but in that moment he didn't mind it. The water was crystal clear, just like a dark mirror. It reflected every star above it and the moonlight, although the reflections would tremble here and there every once in a while, whenever a small fish or other animal rippled its way underneath it. There was tall grass surrounding the lake, swaying in time with the breeze, which was probably the host of the loud conversation the bugs were having despite the two young men there. The fireflies were there as well, as the blond had said, and they were either dancing with the wind or to the music in their heads, small dots of light randomly but prettily skating across the nightly air.

Gaara faced Naruto to actually see him smiling now, and when he stepped forward, getting inside the lake, he could find in himself some of the cheerful confidence he needed to carry on. Both of them walked until the water reached just above their knees (which was probably the tallest it could get in there), and then the whiskered shinobi took the lid of his jar, beckoning Gaara to do the same.

In awkward silence (the kind Gaara never thought possible to have with the blond around), the two young men began their firefly chase, Gaara first observing Naruto to understand how it was done, and then mimicking his movements the best he could. The luminescent bugs were actually very tricky to corner and capture, but soon the glass jars began filling, and the redhead, while in an epic battle to get one of them to join the others inside, decided he had had enough of the silent and pitiful treatment, decided to finally take his fate in his hands and make it move forward.

"What was it that you wanted to tell me, Naruto?" his question was perfectly clear above the cricket's now fully fledged argument.

But Naruto didn't even face him, he was just startled a little by Gaara's sudden words, still carrying on with his activity as he replied, after a long pause, "Something… weird has been going on these past few months… I-it's not really something you should worry about, and maybe you've already noticed it, but then again maybe you have not… And it's something that concerns you so I might as well say it… But… but you have to promise me that whatever happens, you won't be sad, okay? T-that's the last thing I want." And that time Naruto made sure to look Gaara in the eye, so that his bare soul could show him, prove him his words were true. Oh, Gaara knew they were, he knew that he at least could count on that. Naruto would never hurt him on purpose, and that was why the redhead wouldn't cry at the truth revealed now.

"I promise."

A nod. Averted eyes again. Another firefly scooped into the jar. His was still stubborn enough to keep away.

"I…" Naruto continued, "I love…"

… Sasuke…

"… you, Gaara."

And the firefly was definitively gone.

"What?" was the first thought that popped into the redhead's mind, and right out of his mouth too. He was visibly surprised, shocked even, and a very flustered Naruto was now trying to figure out what had gone wrong in his plans. Gaara couldn't have heard that well, could he? If only the crickets could shut up for a second…

"What about the Uchiha?" Gaara came again, this time triggering a chain reaction inside the other man's head that made all oh-so-very-clear to him now.

"Sasuke? What about hi-… Oh Geez!" Naruto slapped his forehead hard with one hand, and the next sentences of his speech were certainly intended more for him than for Gaara, but there was no doubt they were extremely helpful…

"Now I get it… That was why you were so sad…" the blond began. "You didn't know about this, but… but Sasuke did, probably because of that idiot Sai… And… and then I was TRYING to tell you this, but then Sasuke didn't let me AT THAT TIME, and then he began nagging me to tell you, and he told me you clearly loved me, and then I freaked out because I was so afraid I would screw everything up, but the bastard KEPT nagging me and I couldn't do it… I was afraid my love wouldn't be enough, I didn't want to hurt you again… I needed his help, I hated to admit it, but I needed it, and he helped me… After all this time, I finally got him to help me, I finally got him to be my friend, really BE my friend and he did help me! He asked me questions about you and I answered them and I understood I loved you, of course I do, how could I not after everything that has happened, Sasuke even told me it was you to bring him back, I love you so, so much, Gaara, but then Lee came to the forest and he was crying, and he told me I had drowned your youth or something, and then I didn't know what to do again, but Sasuke hit me in the head and I knew I had to do it soon… But you were so sad when we returned, and you left, and I had to wait… but I couldn't wait, I felt like screaming it to the whole world, that's why I came to your tent and I called you, that's why we're here and now you know… and now… and now I need to calm down and breathe…"

A long, long breath.

And while Naruto recovered the much deserved breath, Gaara's hopelessness melted into understanding and then into full excitement, a bright flame burning just above his stomach (was this the youth Lee kept talking about?). He felt like he couldn't wait for Naruto to stop panting and resume talking, so he asked, he needed to ask, "So… between you and Sasuke… there was nothing?"

Naruto tiredly chuckled and then shook his head determinately, a toothy, glowing smile stretching his mouth.

"No. Eww. Never." Another long breath. "He's… he's like a brother to me… Brothers get into fist fights and insult each other… Brothers do not make out… If anything, you helped us be friends again, nothing else."

That was what Sakura's words had meant before…

"So, yesterday, when he was going to sleep…"

"In his tent of course, and me in mine. Alone. Jesus, Gaara, who do you think I am?" Naruto chuckled again. "Besides, Sasuke IS with Sai now, I don't think he's interested in anyone else…"

"What? With SAI?"

Naruto slapped his forehead again, "And I shouldn't have said anything… Crap, just don't tell Sasuke you know it or he'll kill me… They're kind of keeping it a secret…" One more chuckle.

And Gaara couldn't avoid chuckling as well, laughing at the fool he had made of himself, of the great misunderstanding those days had been. In his heart, hope was pointing mockingly at him, laughing even harder than he was. The redhead looked from the jar still in his hands and then finally to Naruto, a smile now happier than nervous showing unexpectedly. He was still trying to figure out how all the near-future joy would fit in himself.

"So… you kind of love me then…" he said. There was a priceless feeling in that reality, in the fact that he was truly loved by this so special person…

Naruto nodded, took one step closer, widened his grin, scratched his whiskered cheek.

"Yeah… I guess I kind of do… And… is it true what they have been saying? Do you… kind of love me too?"

It was Gaara's turn to step forward, smile wider as well.

"I think… that it has always been kind of obvious…" One last step, pair of hands found a new one. A giggle.

"Yeah… I guess it was…" faces moved closer, words were now whispers.

Space between the two of them finally vanished and smiling lips touched, brushed, and locked. Eyes had shut closed the moment the thrill of that mere contact drowned out everything else and mouths began moving eagerly, at last allowing their owners to acquire that so desired taste of the other… That kiss was far too hungry or fast to be perfect, but the participants didn't seem to mind at the moment… Gaara just couldn't believe that was happening yet, he was expecting to wake up at any time and find himself in his tent again, but that kiss, that flame inside him, felt nothing like a illusion… Hands immediately followed the lead and held onto something more substantial than themselves, making two glass jars splash awkwardly to the water below.

However, while Naruto's jar had its lid to close it, Gaara's didn't, and it began filling up with water with a loud bubbling sound, the fireflies trapped inside. Amidst his lips' movements to stroke and cherish the blond's passionately, the redhead did notice the imminent danger for the glowing bugs and, not wanting that perfect moment stained by any (however minor) sad event, he sudden broke the kiss, whispered a "Just a second…" and bent over to catch the jar, pouring all the water out and letting the fireflies be free.

A firstly confused Naruto watched the whole scene amusedly, expectantly, and when Gaara finally returned to him, so close that their noses touched, he merely said with a giggle, "Again, how could I not love you when you are this cute…"

His reply from the redhead was a renewed, increasingly gripping kiss that actually caught the blond off guard, and was everything Gaara imagined his kiss with Naruto would be. Their lips still had the awkwardness and the clumsiness that identified them as beginners (and would need a lot of practice before fading away), but with the movement of his, Gaara was able to convey all the words he had left unspoken, all the emotions he had left unexpressed, all the promises of happiness he wanted to share with Naruto and with him alone, for all the happiness he had invited into his life too, and all that was sent directly to the blond's heart. Naruto accompanied and responded to him in a way that made the redhead sure none of his effort had been in vain, in a way that made low moans, quick gasps and whimpers be added to the symphony of the cricket's, both his and his lover's.

Hands holding onto tightened necks or slowly rocking hips, mouths mingling like crazy, that was the first true kiss that connected the two young men, probably the first time they knew for sure they would do all in their power to remain together.

Later, Gaara wouldn't be sure of which one of them tripped over a rock, but that led to the two of them falling to the water painlessly, in each other's arm, breaking the kiss. Still, both of them used that chance to sit down and regain their breaths while tightening their embrace, Gaara closing his arms around Naruto's neck while the blond opted for the other's lower back. But hands and fingers wouldn't stand still, eager to know all about these new and beautiful exploitable areas, eager to know what reactions each different touch and variable pressures could rip from their owners.

The redhead couldn't believe how intense his own reactions were as Naruto's fingers trailed their way still over his shirt, how warm he could sense his face was, how shaky his body had become. But he was pleased to notice how the blond was squirming beneath his caresses as well, how he could feel him purr against him as he circled fingers around random golden locks of hair. Naruto pressed a whiskered cheek against his pale one and Gaara found himself rubbing them together tenderly, more sweet emotion to be drawn from that contact. Another weirder reaction made itself evident far below the redhead's bellybutton, one that made him blush heavily when he understood what it was, and made the blond smile rather devilishly when he felt it (and his own) too. Reciprocal satisfaction was evident between them, from the fact that they were able to bring each other to that peculiar state of passion.

Naruto's lips discovered they liked the skin of the base of Gaara's neck a lot and began playing there, while Gaara had long ago given up trying to bring some order to his sensorial receptors.

In the hour they spent there, sitting all wet by the lake (at least they had the intelligence to get out of the water), just embracing, touching, kissing lightly here and there (and their bodies were so sensitive to just that!), Gaara told Naruto he loved him more than once (both verbally and non verbally), Naruto apologized for the time they lost in his fear and (non verbally for sure) began making up for it.

However, eventually the two young men began trembling for reasons other than the vibes of pleasure running across them, and Gaara was the first to speak, "Maybe we should return… You're getting too cold for my taste…"

"Then maybe you could something about that…" Naruto suggestively spoke.

"Oh, rest assured I will…" was Gaara's devious reply. "But only after we get to the camp, okay?"

The redhead was proud for the impact his words had on Naruto, but then again, so was he surprised at his boldness. But he shouldn't be, now should he? He never thought he would have an opportunity like this, and now that he had, he would have the both of them make the most of it, boldness included…

So, as the two of them got up (Naruto visibly excited with Gaara's offer) and made their way back while holding hands, the young Kage reviewed his thoughts on hope, which was now dancing happily throughout him.

Hope is painful, of course, and it makes you go through many displeasing things too. If you force it away, it will only get worse, it wills itself away when it sees there is nothing left to do. If it stays, however, and if you get through the bad, something beautiful is there waiting, so hope is, actually, completely worthwhile.

Hope is the light guiding you through the darkness, like many people say and Gaara agreed. Hope belongs to light and light belongs to hope as well. Darkness is just there to bring them together.

It didn't take them long to get to the camp, now empty jars in hand, making the least noise possible. Also in silence, Gaara started a new fire while Naruto fetched a blanket from inside his tent, setting it at a safe distance from the fireplace. Soon tall flames were burning and the redhead returned to his rightful place next to the blond, having the two of them sat down again.

They helped each other slide off their wet t-shirts, revealing two very different but equally beautiful and shivering torsos. Gaara had seen Naruto shirtless before, several times even, but now that he could trail every muscle, hill and valley with his fingers, this experience was far more overwhelming. The redhead placed a tender wet kiss right between the blond's collarbones, smiling as he whispered, "Salty skin, I appreciate that…"

Naruto, on the other hand, took Gaara's previous boldness as a cue and slid his tongue over the other's skin just above his left hipbone, getting a very pleasant response from him. "Tastes like cinnamon… Like curry even… Both things I love!" he informed.

Happy to hear that, Gaara helped them return to the joint activities they were having before by sitting closer to the blond, holding onto him once more as their lips met again.

They spent great part of their night just like that, sitting in a kissing embrace. The absence of upper clothing (now drying near the fire) was gladly welcomed by the two young men, especially Gaara, who had every intention to keep the words he had said by the lake, for it allowed so much more space of maneuver. As his thin hands now studied the geography of the blond's back in detail, his tongue asked gentle permission to meet Naruto's inside his mouth, just to see if it tasted as deliciously salty as the rest of his skin. The whiskered man gladly complied and parted his lips completely, and it took all of their self-control combined for the both of them not to moan shamelessly loudly and wake everyone up at their first try at a tongue kiss.

All the retained energy was well used throughout the rest of the time though, with quick, frantic kissed pressed against foreheads, cheeks, necks, shoulders, arms and chests, hands and of course lips, who had become now deep red due to the unusual excess of activity. Fingers were following that same example, and it was with a wonderful feeling of bliss that Gaara noticed Naruto's hands couldn't keep off his legs, the stupid ugly things that apparently had nothing stupid or ugly in them to the blond…

After a long while, though, and since they really didn't have enough practice to engage in such activities without getting surprisingly tired or out of breath, the kissing embrace became just an embrace, with the two of them breathing just as fast as their heartbeats. Gaara just rested his head on Naruto's shoulder and felt the other do the same, his chest pushing and pulling him as he breathed, but standing still wasn't an option, not even then. The particular ache was back on that certain part of the two young men's anatomy, and the two would occasionally squirm closer to each other to relieve it in small slivers, always astounded at how overwhelming that itty bitty contact felt.

During that semi-pause, however, Naruto's voice echoed, somewhat muffled and rough.


Hearing his name, he lifted his head.


A blond head emerged too, his handsome face partly serious and partly smiling, blushing brightly as his eyes were full of something the redhead could not identify.

"Do you think you…" he started, "you would… you know… want to have… ahhh… homoerotic relations…" a peak of red in the face at that, "… with me this summer…?" Gaara opened his mouth involuntarily but before he could do anything, Naruto carried on, "I don't mean now, and please don't feel forced to anything!, but… when we're back to the Leaf… I can make things good enough because this hasn't worked out the way I wanted… and I want that to be perfect… and mayb-…"

When the person you love the most in the world is asking you about being completely together in body and sounding like you wouldn't want that, the best way to reply to her is with a grand gesture of affection. Gaara, following this advice, held the blond's head in his hands and kissed his lips strongly, silencing the other, and when they parted, the redhead, also blushing terribly, replied, "I think that would be the best part of the vacation, Naruto…"

And Naruto, beaming almost literally at the words, merely enveloped the redhead in a massive hug before kissing the entire length of his neck, half-yelling, "Thank you so much!"

Gaara, partially taken aback, just chuckled and said, "It really is my pleasure… But…" he now faced the blond with a mocking smile on his face, "… homoerotic relations? Where did you learn that word?"

If possible, Naruto turned an even darker shade of red. "Well… from Sai, really… I found the word funny when he said it, but how I learned it… that was not funny at all…"

And Gaara could imagine that was true, especially regarding the word it was, who had said it first and that person's newest lover.

More kissing activities ensued, now making them even more sensitive because of the wondrous promise hanging between them, but this time it was interrupted sooner, by a long yawn coming from Naruto.

"You're tired…" Gaara stated the obvious.

Another yawn. "I guess I am… I still haven't slept… And I'm not used to thinking that much for such a long time…" was the other's reply.

Of course, while the redhead had been crying himself to sleep, the blond had been planning how this moment would happen. And now that his effort had harvested such wonderful fruits, it was only fair that Naruto had the proper reward…

"Please sleep then," Gaara said, combing golden locks with lean fingers. "Tomorrow we can do more, today has been more than fantastic enough."

The blond giggled as he replied, "You don't know how happy I am to hear that… And I guess I should sleep then… but… what about you?"

The redhead chuckled, "I appreciate the worry, but I don't think I'll be able to sleep tonight… I still need time to let everything settle in…"

"I see…" Naruto nodded, getting up rather quickly. "Well, then I'll go to my tent."

"No," and Gaara made that word clear by gripping the blond's wrist tightly. "Stay here. I can help you sleep better. Besides, our shorts aren't completely dry yet…"

There was no way Naruto would want to refuse that tender offer, no way would want to miss that chance to stay with the redhead. So, running a thumb over the pale skin connected to his, the blond giggled, nodded and asked, "What do I have to do?"

"Let me just set everything up."

And Gaara did so. With expertise, he smothered the fire just enough to make the flames lower significantly but not entirely. He put his t-shirt back on and he handed Naruto his (they were now completely dry and warm, and even though it was summer, it was still somewhat cold at night). He spread the blanket more, allowing it to cover more of the ground and, after he was satisfied with everything, he laid down, waiting for the blond to follow.

Naruto gladly complied as soon as his own t-shirt was dressed again, and, when he too was lying by Gaara's left side, the redhead's lean arms harbored him and brought him closer, the right one resting tenderly against the blond's right hip while the left one ghosted oh-so-soothingly-slowly over his whiskers and his hair, his eyes and his lips, his nose, his earlobes, his neck. To complete the picture, Naruto brought his arms to rest on the other's chest and his head snuggled against the curve of Gaara's neck caringly. Having the blond closed his eyes already, when the redhead began humming lowly in his calm, relaxed voice, it didn't take long for the Hokage wannabe to fall asleep almost purring, under so much care, attention, so much love.

As for Gaara, slumber did not visit him again that night indeed. He felt too alive and curious, all his senses were too concerned about memorizing all of the beautiful being just laying there in his arms, reminding himself how difficult it had been to get there and always remembering (as if he needed that) to always cherish him forever. Naruto looked and sounded completely angelical when he was sleeping, and Gaara just wished he could relive this moment every single day of his life, promised himself that, under his care, the blond would never look sadder than that… And he found out he couldn't wait for the day the gates of the Leaf Village appeared before him again… How wonderful would it be, to be completely vulnerable, body and soul, just with this gorgeous man beside him to show him love… How wonderful would it be to finally be completely one with him…

Homoerotic relations, he smiled once again at the expression.

"Sweet dreams, Naruto…" Gaara whispered through excitement, though the other could no longer listen to him and could only mumble in reply. "I love you, so darn much…"

Morning was quick to arrive, too quick at least for Gaara. When pink made the sky blush over them, the redhead made sure to stay still not to disrupt the other's slumber, no many hours would ever be enough to take in all of him. He considered doing something about the cheerfully chirping birds too, but seeing that it would probably involve many unpleasant things, it let them be. After all, Naruto did seem to have a very heavy sleep. Many small droplets of dew were sprinkled all over the gold of his hair, and Gaara kindly brushed them away, the moist locks smooth to his touch. The blond's face looked handsome under that shade of pink.

Just like any other day, one person was the first to rise from his tent and prepare himself for the usual rooster-like calling to awakening, but that time Gaara was warned by the sudden rustling and was able to call out to him before he could do just that, facing Lee with pleading eyes and a finger over his lips that meant silence.

As for the bushy-browed young man, however, there was just too much bizarre information to deal with at once. First, Gaara, the Kazekage, sleeping on the ground, outside his tent. Second, the emotion profoundly etched upon his eyes, one that Lee would never imagine seeing in Gaara. Third, the person he was dearly holding in his arms, who was no other than Naruto. Immediately excitement ran all over the green-loving shinobi, who had to hop in place repeatedly not to betray the redhead's request and yell.

"Oh all great spirits of youth!" Lee exclaimed in a whisper, approaching the other two. "I can't believe this! You actually did it, Gaara!" Big round eyes were hovering just above a sleeping face, and the redhead could not avoid smiling at the sight.

"I guess I did…" he replied, carrying on with his grooming activities.

But it seemed the Rookie 13 (with the obvious exception of Shikamaru, who had never been affected with that) had already developed a biological alarm for whenever Rock Lee would startle them out of their sleep, so soon more tents began emitting rustling sounds as well.

As people began emerging, it was Lee who shushed them this time, and all of them, one by one, landed their stare upon the two young men who had spent the night with each other. Gaara shrewdly noticed Sasuke and Sai leaving from the same tent and inwardly smirked at that. They were lucky all focus was on him and the blond, their secret would be kept for now.

When the redhead returned his attention to Naruto, though, he noted that probably all that attention was just a little too focused on them… Most of the males (Kiba and Chouji, especially) looked like they still didn't know how to deal with the news, but the females (with Sakura half-yelling something about the two of them FINALLY getting together and except for TenTen, who now doubted even more of Naruto's sense of masculinity) pushed Lee out of the way and choked a tight circle around the two of them, cooing several awws at the blond's serene sleeping form.

Sasuke (Gaara now would never refer of him as Uchiha depreciatively anymore) also approached them when he realized what was going on and, analyzing the entire situation in a way that reminded the redhead a lot of his Sharingan, he reflected his grin from before and asked Gaara, "When did this happen?"

And the young Kage merely replied, smiling knowingly, "Last night." There was a sort of compassionate thankfulness in his eyes that let Sasuke know it was okay to be kind to Gaara.

The ink-haired man nodded. "Hmm. So the idiot did do something…"

"Yeah," Sai added, poking his head in out of nowhere, the silly grin on. "And now Dickless really has a boyfriend."

Gaara decided to ignore these comments, but the pressing reactions of the female part of the group upon Naruto were an entirely different matter. When the awws turned into something closer and more invasive, the redhead instinctively felt the need to protect the man entrusted to him, so he involuntarily closed the embrace. However, even his profound sleep eventually felt the consequences of so many disturbances and, after a few seconds, the redhead felt the blond's body begin stirring, right before a wide pair of summer-sky-blue eyes flew open and his post of being the spotlight for such attentive crowd was distracted by five lean fingers entangling with his tanned ones.

Naruto flashed his vixen grin, not to the crowd (he really didn't notice them yet), but to the face eventually attached to those fingers. That face leant closer and his merely received it, whispering a "Good morning…" before allowing lips to do their own silent greetings. Good morning indeed.

But the air around them exploded in all types of loud interjections, and by the time the blond realized that those were not the "fireworks" he could certainly feel in his stomach (or were those butterflies, and on a completely different context?), he parted from Gaara's kiss and finally faced his comrades, looking a bit confused. However, all of them (and not with Sai and Sasuke's exception that time) had curiosity ringing in their faces, obviously eager to know what happened to provoke that change, but before Naruto would even consider explaining all of it to them, he smiled mischievously, sat up and stretched his arms and legs, getting up with a jump as his redhead observed him kindly and stood up much more calmly.

All eyes were still expectantly fixed on them. But Naruto stretched some more, teasingly. And when he could practically feel the others' stares poking him, he asked, arms still in the air, "What?"

Sakura exploded and pointed a furious finger at the blond, "Don't just 'what' us!" she yelled. "How did this happen? What is this? When did the two of you get together?"

"Calm down, Sakura!" Naruto pleaded, stepping back and holding onto Gaara's hand again. "We… he is my boyfriend now…" another tender exchange of looks. "We kind of got to talk last night and sorted it out." His other hand played with a crimson curl. "It's just a shame we didn't realize it earlier…"

At that, Gaara nodded. "I agree." And then their bodies met in a small hug.

And at that point, however, even if most of the group still felt excited with the wondrous happening, they also felt a bit embarrassed for being so close to the two young men's interactions (although they did not seem to mind it at all). The shinobi began scattering to set up their breakfast (Chouji had been hungry for quite a while, but thought it would be indelicate to bring that up when other news were on focus), but before Sasuke could get far away, Gaara suddenly released Naruto from his arms and headed towards him (to the blond's slight surprise), placing a hand on his shoulder to make him turn to him. There was something important he still had to do… When the Uchiha heir finally faced him, the redhead didn't even allow him to speak, since he immediately engulfed him in a completely gripping embrace, to everyone else's shock. Sasuke only gasped and the others merely stared, but Gaara said, after a while, "Thank you, Sasuke Uchiha." The tone of his voice unmistakably backed up those words. "Thank you for all this, and I am sorry for having misunderstood your intentions."

Well, being thanked to was not on the list of actions Sasuke frequently took and, being his natural unreachable self, something closer than a handshake would be severely frowned upon by him. In fact, those lean arms around him were making him extremely uncomfortable. However, he did realized that being thanked by the Kazekage himself with such an affectionate gesture was not something that happened everyday (except perhaps for Naruto, who was probably getting more than just a hug as a thank you every time) and he understood that it probably wouldn't be that bad (or people would not think less of him) if he accepted that gratefulness. So, letting out a sigh, Sasuke just indulged the redhead and actually returned the embrace rather kindly, even showing a rare smile when he replied, "It really is alright, Gaara." But he added, he needed to, referring to Naruto now, "And it seems you are already getting this sappy habit from him too."

The blond did not feel insulted by his best friend's comment (in fact he was so proud of both his and Gaara's behavior that moment that he could not be angry at neither), so it was with great care that he returned to the redhead's arms when Sasuke had already left them, replying, "He surely is. And I'll love getting used to it."

After that, the entire group finally got the meal they needed so much, but excitement was still in their chattering, Gaara found it comfortable to have his breakfast sitting on Naruto's lap, Sai still threw his occasional comments and Shikamaru, as usual, missed all the fun.

Out of habit, it took them little time to then dismount the camp, wake the shadow-ninja up and be ready to enter the immense green once more. Gaara found Naruto taking his hand as soon as they were ready to go and discovered that he would no longer be alone. Not ever again. Nothing in his life had ever felt like that. Even without sleep, he had never felt so awake and alive. The Fire Country spirit was getting to him again.

From that day on, the summer vacations kept getting better and better, at least for Gaara.

On the first days after the couple had announced their relationship, the entire group had been keen on giving their opinion and sharing their sincere hope that the Kazekage would bring Naruto what he lacked in good manners and intelligence, at the same time praising Gaara's patience in handling the hyperactive blond while said blond frowned incisively at them. Gaara, however, could still sense that some people found them rather odd and unlikely to succeed (especially considering that in less than a month the Sand Village's ruler would leave), but, surprisingly, he did not feel upset with that. He was completely sure of the strength of their connection, he knew distance would not tear it apart.

Some people, however, had a more specific say in the matter. Hinata had a very pleasant conversation with Gaara about (for once) the blond's many appealing characteristics, and while the redhead was sure the Hyuuga heiress still had deep feelings for Naruto, that wasn't completely true anymore. Of course he had played an important role in helping her convey the true, dedicated person she truly was, but now that she felt stronger than ever and realized the whiskered shinobi sadly did not return those feelings, it still wasn't the end. Hinata eventually confessed to love Kiba to both Naruto and Gaara, but the blond was not very fond of the idea, listing a lot of things that made the brunette not good enough for the wonderful girl she was. Gaara, however, inwardly laughed at the irony. Except for the gigantic dog always following Kiba (and the redhead was truly glad of that exception), him and Naruto were practically the same and, thankfully, that sorting did work out for the best, since the redhead was not too fond of the man's pet.

Gaara himself spoke to Shikamaru without the blond's company. The shadow manipulator proved his intelligence was not misjudged by already knowing about the current status of Gaara's relationship with Naruto so, before the redhead could say anything, he was greeted with a very "I told you so" look and smirk from him. However, going past that part and also thanking him for not letting his stubborn hope die, Gaara had an immense favor to ask of him…

"I need you to write a letter to Temari…" he requested.

"Huh?" was Shikamaru's first reaction. "I thought you would give her my message directly…"

"No, it's not that," Gaara explained, shaking his head, "I know my sister, and I am sure that despite all her words of encouragement about my feelings towards Naruto, she will still be her very overprotective self when I return and tell her what has happened. And, with the proper stimulation, Kankurou will be even worse. So… I thought, since she trusts you, you could write something for her to know Naruto hasn't done anything… bad to me."

"Well, and has he?"

"Not… yet…" Gaara smirked. The other's eyes widened at the statement and he did not dare to ask further. "But, the point is, if you write that and I deliver it to her, both my siblings will be rested assured, and so will I and Naruto as well. So, can you, please?"

After a few moments of consideration, Shikamaru ended up deciding that there was really no reason not to help the redhead (especially since he could not imagine Naruto hurt him and he could see why Temari would think that wrongly), so he nodded, and he agreed to have said document ready by the end of the journey, and he would include his own messages there, as to make it more natural and unnecessary for Gaara to tell anything to his sister.

The Kazekage, pleased to still see how much he could count with the other, thanked him genuinely and then carried on.

After the new couple was back together while walking, one other person came to talk with them about Naruto, but this time it was not quite as pleasant as Hinata's conversation. What else could someone expect from Sai? The always-shrewd man was one of the people to praise Gaara's patience above all, and when the redhead made the simple mistake to talk about Sai's own boyfriend, said boyfriend noticed that one person too many knew about the supposed secret and collided on Naruto because of that. But while the blond was suffering the consequences of his own big mouth, Sai explained to Gaara why he had never been worried that Sasuke might leave him for the whiskered man. Most of the reasons involved Naruto's apparent lack of genitals and his overuse of attention-seeking techniques, not to mention the natural aptitude he had to put himself in too sentimental situations. The redhead considered the artist shinobi's words and understood that the relation between the two dark-haired men was very different in what he could call sugar from his with Naruto's (always ignoring the comments on the blond's sensitive areas). He was not unhappy with it at all, and by the time he left Sai, Naruto had returned too (looking a bit hurt in his face) and Sasuke, frustrated, had given up in maintaining the secret, deciding the heck with it and allowing people to know there was another homosexual couple amongst the Rookie 13 if that was what fate wanted. There goes the Uchiha clan pride…

Neji, Sakura and Lee kept felicitating them when they saw them together (each one more excitedly than the previous), for they had know about the imminent evolution of their bond from before and it had been interesting to see it happen before them. Of course, Gaara noted, neither of them had had the decency of telling him exactly that Naruto harbored such feelings for him (which would have made things much easier), but then again the redhead could not complain: probably certain events wouldn't be as sweet if all other events leading to them hadn't happened that way.

Most of the male part of the group, though, was still wondering if they should stand back or give encouraging words to Naruto and Gaara whenever they kissed or embraced in front of them, while TenTen (who could, under some circumstances, be also considered part of the males) merely stated that she would not tolerate that much sap in front of her neither should they expect her to act all nice and fluffy whenever they were around.

One quite agreeable surprise was, certainly, Shino. He had come to them on a lunch break, while they were merely cuddling and holding hands in silence, and just requested to hear the entire story of how they got together. Well, neither Gaara nor Naruto found it inappropriate to do so (especially since all of them had been making an effort to make the bug-user feel less like an outsider to the group), so they told it, the misunderstanding with Sasuke, the scene by the lake, everything, both taking turns. However, when they were almost getting to the end of it, a loud, single sobbing noise had come from the usual emotionless man and, when Naruto asked Shino if he was crying (the sunglasses did not allow to draw an answer to that wondering), he replied in an unusually trembling tone that a bug had just brushed a tear gland of his.

Regarding the most appealing aspects of having two extremely attractive young men engage in a romantic relationship through a romance-obsessed girl's eyes, Gaara and Naruto learned very early to refrain themselves from sharing anything more than a friendly hug or holding hands in front of Sakura, or Ino, or the two of them together. Their voices would go up a dozen decibels and octaves, and their keen eyes would observe them far too attentively to be considered appropriate by any kind of common sense.

And since the two young men's conversations together had been recently added a new and extremely interesting topic of discussion, it was of vital importance to keep their voices down when they sensed the raving women nearby.

Once people were done paying too much attention to the new couple (actually, some members of the group began discovering some happenings between Sasuke and Sai instead), which happened after some days, Naruto and Gaara finally found the chance they had been long ago expecting to have some time alone and lose their beginner's inexperience. So, they began practicing kissing. After camp had been set on during their meal breaks (Naruto could eat surprisingly fast and Gaara did not eat much either, so they had much time to spare), the two young men would find themselves a good spot by a rock, or a tree, or even inside a nearby cave and they would practice. As the summer atmosphere held them in its haven, they would no longer feel the need to hurry or the need to be together without truly appreciating all of the other's movements, so they practiced, taking their time doing it.

They practiced first while they were alone, until Gaara was completely satisfied and unmistakably aroused by what he could see with his third eye technique (and did he and Naruto make an outstandingly seductive couple!). Then they began practicing in the presence of others, under curious looks, adoring looks, dreamy looks, and eventually nauseated and angry looks, while standing or sitting in a complete entanglement with each other, until most people (even Sakura and Ino sometimes) began complaining that maybe the display they were putting themselves on was far too risky for regular people's eyes (oh, and for Sharingan or Byakugan it was even worse). When that time came, they returned to practicing alone, with the added laying position to their practice too, one that made the two of them oddly safe when feeling the warm weight of the other upon them.

Their practice paid off very soon. Soon, they reached a point when all it took was a certain look for the other to know kissing was imminent, and then all it took was a certain half-gasp half-whimper to start a chain reaction that involved all of their mouth's coordination and would always leave them gaping like fish out of water in the end. Soon, both of them knew the other's reaction to every brush of a lip, flick of a tongue or movement of a finger, soon they knew exactly what each sound and reaction meant and the best way to reply to them, always surprising and breathtaking, progressively nearing perfection. Naruto discovered almost immediately that Gaara had an outstanding control over his tongue, and he certainly used that, to neither of their complaints.

Practice makes perfect, but nothing really is perfect, so practice is always needed. But this was something Gaara and Naruto would never mind having to practice, not at all.

On the other hand, Gaara noticed too that Naruto paid great attention to his legs every time they were sitting together, and the reason for it became clear soon after, for the blond would every once in a while cover each one of them with tender kisses from ankle to knee and would praise them effusively, almost poetically, saying he had never met anyone with legs that perfectly shaped in his life. The redhead could tell he was telling the truth, and that made him happier than he could ever imagine. He confessed it had been Temari's idea to wear only short shorts on those vacations, and the blond merely replied that his sister was a genius. Gaara too complimented genuinely Naruto's own legs. They looked like they had been sculpted from smooth sandstone, and that was something the young leader liked a lot.

Moreover, in the intimacy they often brought themselves to, Naruto and Gaara began testing other bolder themes of conversation, ones that would begin with the blond starting a sentence with the words "when we get home…" and then would naturally develop into something very complete, explicit and almost unbearably arousing, with the equal participation of both of their especially chosen words and situations, which eventually had powerful effects on them, just as real and pleasurable as a full kissing session's. Gaara kept imagining all of those settings coming to life at full intensity and he never knew he would feel so excited at the possibility of being that intimate with someone, all of it appealed to him more than he could tell. Maybe that was why he was so lucky, being with Naruto: just that look on the redhead's face was enough to make the blond want to arrive home even sooner and bring all those words to life.

One time in the middle of one of those conversations, a very blushing and smiling Naruto asked Gaara how informed he was about sexual relations between males and, having himself confessed that he had nagged Sasuke to at least talk to him about the basics for them to have a good first impression of the whole thing (something quite complicated from the dark-haired man, since his own first experience with Sai was rather… impetuous), he heard the redhead say that he had been usually harassed by his sister about that subject: Temari would pick up a very explicit book about two random men participating in such activities and would read every word to him, just to laugh at the way her little brother's face would light up while his expression remained unchanged, but his mind was filled (even then) with very "unseeable" images of him and Naruto together. Kankurou had tried to help him many times with that, but it had all been in vain, Temari just kept going. But now, it seemed, that actually turned out to be a good thing. Naruto was just glad that no further explanations were needed.

It seemed that only their touch had retained some of their previous shyness. Mostly their hands would keep away from the most "troublesome" areas, but they were really okay with that. Once that one restraining rule could be broken, they could (and certainly would) make all use of it.

But the fine art of kissing was not the only thing that was practiced. All of a sudden, Naruto remembered all the activities he had missed with Gaara because he was too worried trying to get help from Sasuke and decided he wanted to have a second chance and actually live them, allowing the redhead to overcome the ghosts of said times as well. Pleading the group to make a little detour in their route, the blond and his boyfriend, with all others following, eventually found themselves by the step-stone bridge from before again, Gaara feeling just as scared. That time, however, there would be no reasons for depression. A tanned hand was squeezing his reassuringly, and it was with great motivation that the two of them took the first step crossing the river, side by side.

That time there would be no race to the other side, but that didn't mean Lee wouldn't be his usual speeded self, and, for once, TenTen was not the only one yelling at him, as the blond warned him that if he scared Gaara one more time he would punch a Rasengan so deeply into him that the bushy-browed ninja would have insides sprawled in a spiral outside him.

Drawing strength from Naruto, Gaara eventually created his own courage and was able to face that challenge by himself, with very satisfying results. However, even if you already feel very comfortable when you are standing in the middle of the raging river and thinking you are king of the world, the slippery rocks can always play a trick on you and, eventually, both the blond and redhead fell to shallow water once.

Which reminded Naruto of another important detail… Gaara still had to learn how to swim.

Knowing that in their travels they were progressively leaving the water region of the Fire Country, the group took advantage of the next appearance of a lake to do just that, since that might as well be the last one. "Swimming Lessons" aside, all thirteen of them were there to help the Kazekage know exactly how to move his limbs in order to survive and move himself naturally through the water (several fish were there too, but they saw all that activity more as an extremely entertaining show, really), and Naruto's smile and approval was a good enough reward for Gaara, who was a fast learner.

However, one thing that still amazed the Rookie 13 every time the redhead reached and kissed the blond inside water was the overwhelming tenderness streaming out of his eyes and gestures, a feeling they could never imagine to fit that ex-ruthless killer so perfectly… Naruto did have a power to change people, any people. Most of them there were the living proof of that.

And they didn't even see half of that shared tenderness. Now that they were officially a couple, even though the biggest acts of intimacy were reserved for the end of their journey, there were some routine actions they enjoyed doing together, as if they were getting acquaintance with the other's habits. For example, they would occasionally slip inside one of their tents and would change clothes in the company of the other. Gaara found himself always hypnotized at the sight of Naruto taking off his own clothes and reveal other parts of his body he still had not the pleasure to know. The redhead felt oddly comfortable while undressing himself too, making Naruto the first person to see him naked in ages. Little did he know that there was something about the casual way he did that that made the blond fixate his eyes on him too, in raw desire. One those times, it was not rare for the two men to blush: both on their face and somewhere far below, eyes enjoying what fingers could not.

Just for fun, they once spent the entire day in the other's clothes, but while there was no doubt Naruto looked darn good in black, Gaara in orange was an entirely different matter. Still, those clothes made him feel strangely comfortable, and he wouldn't mind repeating the experience (with another color scheme, preferably…).

From that first day on, all their nights were spent together as well. In the same tent (most of the time, on Gaara's), the two of them would lay in a similar way to their first night, only closer, and Naruto would snuggle deeper into the redhead's embrace, whispering the unavoidable, "Gaara, cuddle with me…" that made Gaara smile in the goofiest way possible at finding the blond so eager to receive his so humble touch. But Naruto was there to return the favor in every way he could, and his own kind caresses upon the redhead's body made him feel like he belonged, he had always belonged in that nest of love. They actually slept on those times, but the Kazekage was sure that it would take a lot of effort to get used to sleeping alone again after it was all over…

Like they had been doing throughout those vacations, the group still visited some nearby towns. On the first one, Naruto separated from Gaara for some minutes and then returned with a plastic bag in hand, smiling more deviously than usual. Both the redhead and Sasuke (from far away) were studying the blond's behavior as he approached his boyfriend, looking around as if someone was spying on him and then showing the bag's content secretly to Gaara, who immediately blushed. Inside was a small transparent bottle that the redhead had been very familiarized with through his sister's "narratives", and he couldn't help but to reflect that devilish smile on his own lips, feeling excited as he pressed a kiss to the other's mouth eagerly. Still far away, Sasuke shook his head in embarrassment at the whole situation. Kids these days, making such a fuss at something so ordinary…

In another town, the group had its last major group activity. This village was, surprisingly, sitting on a steep mountain with very few trees and its people were very fond of very unusual sports… TenTen was the first to read the flier announcing an activity called paintball and, after having read the description of what paintball really was, the "adorable" girl she was immediately wanted to participate.

The others, who really had nothing to object to something that involved shooting people with paint bullets, agreed and teams were formed. TenTen herself and Hinata were the ones to choose the teams (of course Hinata's "anger" was there to balance out TenTen's "sweetness"), but when the Hyuuga heiress chose Naruto and the other woman wanted to choose Gaara, the blond made such a fuss about it that he eventually got the redhead to be with him, but TenTen promised on the gun that had just been given to her that she would have all the pleasure of killing them both (in the game, of course), and the more middle she shot, the better.

There should be stricter rules about allowing people with anger management problems to join these activities…

As they got their final preparations finished, Gaara appreciated Naruto's willingness to have him with him, but he felt a bit sorry for the woman's threat. Nothing to worry about, though, their efforts combined would surely be enough to save them both.

The paintball match ended up being nothing less than an epic battle. In that mountain-like outdoor setting, Shikamaru and Chouji were the first to die, but Sakura and Ino, finding the incredible opportunity to face each other like that, took their fight very seriously. Kiba, having been separated from Akamaru (dogs couldn't carry guns after all), could barely find a comfortable position to hold the weapon, so he was soon out as well. More or less embarrassedly, the two teams kept losing members (Lee being the most embarrassing lost, for he merely pointed his gun forward and kept running towards nothing in particular, managing to run out of bullets in record time without killing anyone and getting hit with ten shots at the same time). Regarding Naruto and TenTen's own personal grudge, the blond managed to kill Neji easily (without the Byakugan or his defensive rotation technique, he was not that much of a challenge), and that worsened his situation even more. The infuriated woman killed Gaara in a deadly accurate shot to the heart, and Naruto, throwing himself on his fallen lover with a howl of profound sorrow, took one bullet himself on his bottom, making TenTen grin like she had never grinned before. Victory felt good. However, it didn't feel as good when both the blond and the redhead removed their helmets and began kissing each other's pain away, and she kept shouting out loud, outraged, that dying REAL men did not kiss on a battlefield.

If they tried to, now neither Gaara nor Naruto could remember whose team did win that day, but it didn't seem to matter much anyway… However, now all things considered, that last part of their vacations did pass by too quickly…

Going from the mountain to a region of prairies, the group passed by a gigantic steel road scarring the fields, whose beginning or end could not be seen from where they were. The redhead was the first one to recognize it as a railing, and the reminder of a train was enough to give his eyes a saddened glint.

And it was not all… As they moved forward, small differences in the environment around him made Gaara lose a bit of the gathered happiness. At night, even when in Naruto's embrace, the breeze would steal several shivers from his spine. He could tell the sun now moved much faster past them, as if in a hurry to return to the horizon. The forest wasn't as green, which made the redhead wonder, who had put a yellow layer over it?

More pleasant moments were there to be lived, but the reality that those would be the last ones was becoming more and more tangible, and it scared the group, and it scared Naruto and Gaara.

Soon they began passing by very familiar sceneries, the constant feeling of déjà-vu squeezing their hearts. Kiba and Akamaru went to find the berries Gaara had tasted at the beginning of the adventure, but its plants were already gone: they only lived during summer.

It didn't come as a surprise that one day the gates of the Leaf Village appeared in front of them again, but the expression on Gaara's face upon realizing that was rather bittersweet. On one hand, it meant all the promises made before would come true. On the other hand, it meant that a part of his life, a routine he had grown completely fond of, would be completely lost.

Naruto coped with the situation in a much more immature way. When the group began crossing the gates, the blond refused to get inside, clutching the doorway with both hands while his friends tried to drag him forward. He was all too aware that if Gaara arrived at the Leaf, he would have to ride the train and leave, and he didn't want that to happen…

However, Gaara solved the problem himself by crossing the gates, extending one arm to the blond and saying, "It's okay, Naruto. We still have time… I can stay a few more days." After all, the redhead did not give an exact date for his arrival at the Sand Village, a small delay wouldn't harm anyone.

That eventually worked and all of them entered the village, Naruto holding onto the other's hand as if his life depended on that. Gaara looked around, taking the eternally moving place all in again, noticing that after all, he had really seen places more beautiful than the Leaf…

Kotetsu and Izumo, the eternal guards, greeted the entire group quite effusively, obviously happy to see them safe and sound. There were some curious looks thrown at Gaara and Naruto's connected hands, but they didn't ask anything about it, nor did the young men care to explain any further.

Now that they had finally arrived, the bizarre sense of normality that had been kept away for those two months was sinking back in, somewhat drowning all the unique experiences from before, as if they were slowly waking up from a very pleasant dream. Gaara did not enjoy that one bit, so he really appreciated Naruto's sudden and despaired offer, "Hey, guys… What if we all went to Ichiraku's one last time before going home?"

Apparently, all others were suffering the same, because they were more than glad to comply, so they all headed to the place where it all begun.

The small stand was overflowing with so many people, but that only made the old man there happier, since he had missed his favorite costumer a lot. Feeling much more cheerful at the prospect of having ramen (real ramen!) soon, Naruto ordered one huge dose for both him and Gaara, announcing with pride that he and the Kazekage were now a couple (which caught the man by surprise too). The joy stayed as the two of them shared that bowl, the blond teaching the redhead the best way to enjoy that wonderful meal while he learned it all in between chuckles and slurping, and kissing too, whenever the moment for it presented itself.

After each of their naturally passionate kisses, Naruto would turn to the man and would suggest to him, jokingly, "You should really add Gaara's saliva to this, it would be a success!" Of course the poor man did not know how to reply at that, so he merely remained silent.

However, while the two lovers were taking their time with their final meal as a group, the rest of the group had already finished his part and began leaving, waving regular goodbyes to the two young men as they stepped outside and walked away. Before Shikamaru went, though, he approached Gaara and handed him a closed envelope, telling him it was the favor he had requested. The redhead smiled at him and thanked him sincerely, and when the blond asked him what it was, he merely replied, "It's the permission I need for the things we'll be doing later today…"

At those words, even Naruto sped up his ramen consumption and immediately paid for their meal, throwing a hurried goodbye at the old man as the two young men hurried to finally get home… Neither of them could believe it was drawing so close…

The connected hands even shivered in expectation every once in a while, and smug smiles could not be detached from their lips, but one thing, one single sight was enough to erase all that as the two of them turned the corner for Naruto's house: Lady Tsunade herself standing at the door, arms folded under her rotund chest, the least friendly expression marking her face deeply.

"Oh crap…" were the blond's only words as they obligatorily approached the angry Hokage.

"Ah, so you're finally here!" she began, already in a tone of voice that showed him bad things were coming. "Why didn't you tell me HE" and she pointed to Gaara, "was going with you? The Kazekage!"

And Naruto really wanted to reply to that, but the redhead beat him to it, talking with his chin held up high, a white hand still protecting his, "Lady Tsunade, he did invite me, but I can assure you, I was surrounded by the best guard possible and I have no problems defending myself either. In fact, I really appreciate Naruto's invitation, it was the most agreeable summer I have ever spent."

The blond inwardly smirked at his boyfriend's choice of words and how they silenced the medical-ninja. It really took some ability to do that, and he was sure Gaara wouldn't be intimidated that easily. Angry hazel eyes, however, eventually fell to connected hands, and at that point there was no way to avoid a new storm…

"You… I can't believe you two…" she hissed, bewildered. "Naruto, I want to speak to you in private…" And she dragged the still Genin with her even before he gave his consent, away from Gaara's attentive ears (which was quite a distance, because Tsunade had a very powerful voice). The redhead couldn't hear what they were saying, but it felt exactly like the first discussion Naruto had had with Sasuke, and that time he was sure it was something bad, because the look on the blond's face then was of sheer sorrow and disappointment as his leader seemed to be giving him a fully fledged reprehension. By the end of it, all the excitement of his words from before had disappeared from Naruto's lips and eyes, and he returned to the redhead extremely depressed, not even claiming his hand again.

The Hokage returned too, and the look upon her face had retained all its ruthlessness as she looked at Gaara, ordering, "You will be catching the train to the Sand Village today."

But Gaara was not having any of that. He was the Kazekage after all, and he wouldn't let anyone who had taken the smile off of Naruto's face ruin anything else, leader of a country or not. So, his mere reply, still chin up, was, "No, I won't. I am very sorry, Lady Tsunade, but I've just arrived here, and I was not invited as a Kazekage, I was invited as a friend. I do not need to take any orders. The sooner I can leave is tomorrow."

And the woman, too irritated to carry on this discussion, burst out and said, "Well, you all do as you wish, I don't care! But Naruto, for your own good, I do hope the Kazekage is on his way home early tomorrow!"

And then she left. When she was far from their sight, Gaara ventured and took Naruto's hand, but the whiskered man still looked upset. The redhead asked then, "What did she say to you?"

The blond didn't answer exactly to that question, nor even faced the redhead, but his words were more than enough, "Something that I failed to see before… But I can see now… It really doesn't matter… Come, let's go home…"

Gaara did not dare to discuss it further out of confusion and merely followed Naruto inside. Whatever had happened, he was sure the blond would confide in him when they were calmer. The two of them climbed several flights of stairs until a door appeared before them. Naruto opened it almost mechanically and allowed Gaara to come inside. It was overwhelming how empty the apartment felt when they entered it…

The next hours were spent in an unpleasant silence. Both of them were surely extremely tired after such a long journey, but there were many chores to do before they could at least be together (and figure out a way to get depression out of Naruto). Gaara did the best he could to help and ended up watering the many plants the blond had around the apartment, while the blond himself picked up the calendar he kept in the kitchen and began scratching all the days that had passed by. The day that troubled him the most, though, was the one he would scratch tomorrow, the last day before the redhead would leave…

As night approached outside, all the chores were finished and there was nothing left to separate the two of them. Even saddened, Naruto sat with Gaara on his living-room's couch and they shared the usual cuddling, but the blond kept his unusual silence. The redhead expected him to break it at any time (wasn't that how things always happened with them?), but it took several minutes for that to happen, and when it did, it was just for Naruto to say, "Come with me, I'll show you where you'll sleep. You'll have to wake up really early tomorrow…" and then get up and head for his bedroom.

Once more, intense pain stung the redhead, and he did not know what else to do but to just let it continue. He did follow the blond again and watched as he bent the covers of his own bed out as to allow Gaara to get there better, announcing in a completely definitive tone, "I'll be sleeping in the couch. Just let me know if you need anything." And then he was gone.

Gaara felt as if control over his happiness had been taken away from him again and, once more, he felt completely helpless about it. He wanted to blame hope again for what was happening, but his head could no longer think straight. For a moment, all he wanted was to be home, back in the Sand Village again…

The redhead laid on the borrowed bed in the clothes he was wearing, since he really hadn't used pajamas throughout these vacations. Naruto's bad disposition had found its way to him and it would be best just to sleep and allow tomorrow to come faster, that would solve all those problems. So, exactly because of that, Gaara just removed his sandals and got himself under the covers, trying his best to force himself to sleep's haven.

But nothing would work.

The night was chilly and the rushing breeze came inside the bedroom through an open window. The streetlights were on so there was much clarity, but that didn't ever bothered Gaara before. Something else was keeping him from sleeping. Maybe because sleeping didn't feel like the real solution for the Kazekage.

He didn't cry this time, he wasn't exactly sad. Probably disappointment was the right word for the twirling mass of emotions flooding him right now, disappointment at living about a month of complete bliss, full of promises and happy prospects, and then arriving here, at this. He was most likely upset that his last night with Naruto wouldn't be what both of them had been talking about for such a long time, upset that Tsunade appeared and changed everything. But, above everything, great part of those unpleasant feelings was directed at himself. Because he knew exactly what was happening and he was still lying there, waiting for some miracle to happen to take him out of his misery. Sure that happened several times before, but should Gaara really rely on that that time too? Of course he could wait and hope, but there had to be something better to do than just feel sorry for himself and his predicament. That was something he still didn't share with the blond that had been his inspiration for so long: the motivation to act immediately through the sadness.

So, as he considered all these thoughts, Gaara found something else grow himself, right by hope's side. Something that was yelling at him to get things solved, to just get up and do something. Something that told him he had had enough of disappointments in his entire life and he could take action to finish them for good, if only he just fought for what he truly wanted.

This feeling invaded the redhead's heart and filled it with a power he could not describe. It was something he had never felt before but that wanted to hold onto now, if it meant he could just be with Naruto that night.

Almost in trance, all his muscles practically shaking as he got up from his "pitiful hole", Gaara moved his bare feet over the dimly lit floor and headed outside the bedroom, finding Naruto lying on his couch not asleep, but with the same expression he was sure to have harbored a few minutes ago.

It took the blond some seconds and some more steps from the redhead to notice his presence, the intensity of his jade look, but when he did, immediately his expression lit up with emotion (even if worry) and he asked, supporting his weight on his elbows and partially sitting up, "Gaara… What is it? Is there something wrong?"

There were several ways the redhead could reply to that question, but he chose the clearest one of all. A small frenzy of light steps was heard and in the next moment Gaara was sitting on the blond's lap, capturing the other's lips in a kiss that seemed to erase all discomfort from before.

Once it was over, the young men still maintained their faces that close to each other and Naruto had brought both his arms to imprison the redhead's waist, while Gaara's fingers were already playing with the collar of his shirt.

"This is wrong…" Gaara replied. "The fact that we only began doing this now… Please, Naruto, tell me why you are so sad… Was it the old hag?" The Kazekage had never referred to another leader with such disrespect before, but that was just how upset he was with Tsunade.

Being approached so directly, there was no way the blond could escape (or wanted to escape) his boyfriend's words. Looking him square in the eye, he spoke, "Kind of… She first began telling me what we were doing was madness, but I told her that was not true. I know how much I love you, Gaara, and I know how much you love me too. That could never be madness, so that did not affect me… But then she began calling me selfish, telling me that, after all you've been through, you deserved to be with someone who could be with you always… And…"

"And you think that person is not you?" Gaara finished it for him.


The redhead rustled a bit on spot before he carried on, the feeling inside him inspiring him, "Well, what does Tsunade know about what I deserve or don't? How can she know if I don't want you, of all people? Because I do, Naruto. Weren't you with me all the time? Did you not notice that I never stopped smiling? Do you realize how rare that is for me?" White hands cupped tanned cheeks. "I sometimes wonder what did I do to deserve you… Never, ever the other way round…"

That emotive speech made the blond smile, and Gaara was happy with that. However, Naruto was not finished, "But what about tomorrow? You'll leave and be all alone, you should never be alone anymore… It's unfair to you…"

"You idiot, do you actually think I am worried about that?" There was a dangerous glint in Gaara's eyes now. "Of course I know we will be apart for a long time, but why would I want to waste these moments I actually have with you because of that? I want you, Naruto. I want all the things you promised throughout these last weeks and I want them now." Gaara felt inwardly pleased at the shocked reactions he was getting from the blond. "I am tired of being denied everything I needed in my life and I am certainly not going to lose the person that matters the most to me now. I don't want you to ever feel like you should hold back because I might get hurt, know that you'll never hurt me… Besides…" and now the redhead's voice had lowered to something similar to a whisper, "… I am the Kazekage, you know… When I'm invited to people's houses I expect to be given the proper treatment from the host, and so far you have been always sulking. I might feel forced to complain about Leaf's poor hospitality, and that could be bad for… diplomatic relations… As a proud Leaf shinobi, you wouldn't want that, now would you?"

The trademark devilish grin now painted all of Naruto's face. Gaara had melted away all his worries a long while ago, but he was really very satisfied to see him be this demanding, this bossy… It made him want to comply to all of his desires so, so much, it made him want to give him all he had ever wanted… Brushing the tip of his tongue over the Kazekage's ear, the blond replied, also in a whisper, "Of course not… I would never want that… Do you know how hot you get when you're talking like that?"

And so it begun…

Applying a new, strengthened kiss to the whiskered man's lips, Gaara gradually lifted from his seat on his legs and left the sofa, extending a hand in a very clear invitation. Naruto could do nothing but take it, this time following the redhead to his bedroom himself.


Once again under the dream-like mechanical lights, a smirking Gaara gently pushed the blond onto his own bed, then kneeling himself on the mattress too. An also grinning Naruto knelt as well and brought himself closer to the paler, beautiful man in front of him, sliding both his hands under the tight black t-shirt he wore. All of their previous practice was put on test on that moment, and as their mouths slowly devoured and engulfed each other, tanned fingers touched a marble torso in places they had been forbidden before, making Gaara the first one to moan out loud that night.

But not for long…

A very lean leg immediately molded its way between two other more sturdy ones and the hips attached to them met soon afterwards, like water would slide over olive oil, and Naruto couldn't avoid gasping into the redhead's open mouth as well.

Soon the fingers from before began making their way up, bringing the hem of the black t-shirt with them as they harassed every piece of skin they could find, and, after a few more seconds, the same item of clothing was sliding off two ivory arms, revealing a full expanse of flawless skin to two very eager blue eyes.

Wanting lips immediately replaced the fingers over the creamy white skin, swallowing not only neck, shoulders, chest and abdomen in moist contact but also pink inviting nipples for the very first time out of curiosity, and Gaara's body clearly vibrated in reply to the wonderful touch, making his elegant hands fondle desperately with Naruto's own shirt as he squirmed closer to the man that could make him feel that good…

But the blond was not satisfied with his result yet… Only when the redhead restarted his throaty moans as his mouth played with its new toy did he allow his orange t-shirt to be shed from him, as well as the beige headband around his forehead, and let his own torso with the dark spiraling seal over it become one of Gaara's victims too.

The sculpted flesh covered by the salty skin the Kazekage loved so much was soon assaulted all over by his very well handled tongue, leaving Naruto surprisingly breathless as the wet muscle contoured every bit of his most sensitive areas and ventured to suckle on brown nipples as well, managing to make him both mumble and whimper at the same time.

Already were the two young men running out of space inside their underwear… Already were their hearts out of control and their nerves trembling…

Moving forward once again, the blond slid his hands down to the base of Gaara's back and gently eased him down to the bed, adoring the view from that perspective. The redhead himself entangled his legs with the other's and brushed his own thumbs over the same brown nipples, his face an hymn to pleading.

Naruto was half-grinning and half-whimpering when he said, "You look so handsome, Gaa-chan…" But the redhead couldn't reply to that, he wasn't able to tell that the blushing, the shining and big blue eyes and the manly even if still pudgy face were beautiful too, because the blond's hands were already inside his boxers, and all he could do was beg, "Naruto… please go on…"

And the other man kept grinning as he took off Gaara's shorts and underwear in one sweeping movement, at last making the redhead's humble but perfectly shaped erection contact with the intense atmosphere surrounding them. The Kazekage understood that the giggling expression upon Naruto's face was one of contentment, but he was certainly caught off guard when the blond lowered himself to that area and his lips began playing with the part of his legs he still hadn't had the pleasure to explore, tongue kissing his inner thighs up, towards that particular part of his anatomy.

Gaara practically shouted when the blond's tongue finally touched him there, and all of a sudden his feet were sliding down Naruto's torso and waist, invading his underwear too, moving over a firm bottom. But no matter how overwhelming that single moment of contact was, Gaara was sure he wouldn't last much if Naruto's tongue carried on with its movements, so the redhead brought his hands to hold onto the blond's head and he told those cerulean eyes, "No… I told you before, I want YOU, Naruto…"

And the blond, getting the message, nodded and crawled back to his previous position, allowing Gaara's feet to take off his boxers as he set his full weight over the willing, trembling, delicious pale body beneath him. The redhead's hips grinded teasingly against his, and the Kazekage could tell, in between loud moaning and by the extra volume pressing to him, that the blond was as affected by their foreplay as he was. As Naruto frantically kissed the length of his silky neck, Gaara used both his arms and legs to close the blond's embrace over his body, trying to take in all the pleasure each single movement brought. His chest rose and fell erratically, pushing Naruto's up and down with it, trying to keep up with their breaths.

"More…" was another of Gaara's moaning pleads as he eyed the other once again, incapable of standing still, "I want more of you, Naruto…"

And the blond knew it was time for the next step. While the redhead shut his eyes, the whiskered man got to his elbows and opened the drawer of his bedside table, rummaging a while through it until he found what he was looking for with a small successful sound. Naruto then sat up, and since Gaara was still holding closely onto him, he sat up as well, clinging to the blond's lap, opening his eyes in time to receive the item the other was handing to him: the transparent bottle that had embarrassed Sasuke.

"Will you do the honors…?" Naruto almost breathlessly asked.

"As you wish…" was Gaara's reply as he took the item with a smirk, managing to open it with trembling hands and pour a generous dose of the gooey liquid on one. He wasn't sure of how much he would need, but it was best to have more than less…

And, realizing that his next action would decide who had which responsibility, the redhead thought for a moment before understanding the right choice… Afterwards, Gaara's hands travelled not to his own body but to Naruto's, coating the blond's also proud erection with the slippery liquid, making the Hokage wannabe squeak lightly in surprise and in pleasure.

"R-really?" was his question to the redhead.

"Surely…" Gaara replied, carrying on with the rubbing until he was completely satisfied with his work. "I'll spend my entire day tomorrow on a train. You'll need to walk well more than me… and Tsunade wouldn't be happy if this happened in any other way…"

And, pleased with his boyfriend's logic, Naruto accepted his choice and proceeded to grab the bottle too, in between pleasurable shudders, covering his own fingers with the liquid. Without even knowing, Gaara had a natural gift for what he was doing… Those same fingers gently entered Gaara's body in turns and then at the same time, their owner looking for the spot there that would bring heaven down to the redhead when something considerably bigger invaded him.

Even though the contact inside him felt somewhat strange to the Kazekage, it still was very pleasant and he couldn't help but to get closer to Naruto, resting his head on his shoulder, giving him a wider space of maneuver to carry on with his rhythm as he continued to stroke the blond's hard member. Gaara, however, suddenly felt the sky collide with him when something inside him was touched, and the redhead couldn't avoid shouting roughly into the nightly air.

"Is that…" the redhead begun, raising his head to face the other, "is that my…"

"Your prostate, yes…" a smirking blond replied, brushing it again to the Kazekage's renewed pleasure.

Naruto considered the expression now adorning Gaara's face, one he had never seen before, one that made his face a dark shade of pink sprinkled with glowing sweating spots, his half-closed eyes shine with lust and his parted lips curl both up and down, one he wished to save in his memory forever, to play in front of him every time he could. That was the face of Gaara no one would ever know but him, and he was happy with that, and he wished he had a face like that too, so he could return the favor.

On the other hand, the redhead sometimes looked at the penis now completely ready in his hands and he eventually had to let out this comment, smirking, "You know, Sai's nickname wasn't completely wrong…"

The blond was naturally upset at his boyfriend's words, but Gaara was soon explaining what he meant, "It's not a bad thing, Naruto… I am not that big either… It just means we will never hurt each other much… It has worked out for the best…"

And, with that, a thrilled Naruto's lips found Gaara's again, in a kiss that left their mouths wetter than before, and both of them understood no more delays were there to be had…

Before the blond could do anything, Gaara slid off his fingers and pushed him down now, making Naruto lay on his back. And the whiskered man didn't complain when he saw what the redhead was doing, when he saw him move over his legs until his readied bottom was hovering just above his hips and awaiting erection, when he watched Gaara slowly sitting down and began feeling him all around him. Just because Gaara had agreed to be bottom, it didn't mean he would be passive…

The redhead took his time taking Naruto in, giving time for his body to adjust the intrusion as the lubricant worked its purpose and the blond slid inside, preventing the two of them from controlling the groggy moans that escaped their lips. Gaara's inside was burning and gripping, unforgivable to Naruto, who now held onto silky hips tightly.

But it was only when the blond was completely inside the redhead and both realized all had gone perfectly that the unforgivable pleasure really began, when Gaara, placing his hands over Naruto's chest, began moving his hips up and down in an increasingly fast steady rhythm…

The Kazekage cried out the blond's name every time he managed to brush past his sensitive spot, Naruto carried on with his half-mumbling, half-whimpering always, because Gaara's movements were driving him to the unbearable point of madness…

After one thrust in which Naruto tentatively pushed his own hips up to meet the Kazekage's, more of the redhead's prostate was hit and that made him fall to his knees and hands on top of the blond, making him moan more loudly, making him move faster…

From that position, Gaara could study the blond's expression in detail, and the half-grimace it showed made the redhead laugh for a while throughout the intense thrusts. That made Naruto ask, his voice all rough, "What is it?"

"I'm laughing at your face…" Gaara replied. "It's all deep and stuff…"

But the blond ignored the comment, just thinking that he should be reducing the redhead to a state where he couldn't even think about the faces he was making. Determined to do exactly that, Naruto embraced the other man even more closely and sat up with him again, invading his lips in a hungry kiss as he inverted their positions and now laid on top of him. Gaara, after realizing what had just happened, accepted it and now wrapped his legs closely to the blond's waist, never letting go of the full contact between them as he looked forward to what Naruto had to show him…

It turned out that setting was perfect for the Hokage wannabe to accomplish his purpose…

Naruto placed his hands on the base of Gaara's back again and brought his inviting bottom even closer to him every time his own hips moved steadily forward, now faster. The two of them could now feel the blond's erection rub even more of the redhead's prostate with every movement, and the redhead's loud and emotive reaction to that, Naruto could feel Gaara's body vibrate every time he thrust inside him…

It was now the blond's turn to face the Kazekage and tell him how funnily delicious his face looked, but when Gaara managed to move his lips in an attempt to form words, Naruto realized he still wasn't finished with him yet, so he moved once more…

A small inclination of the redhead's lower body was all it took for the blond to now hit all of his prostate in every fast, rhythmic movement, was all it took to erase all rational thought from Gaara completely and the ground disappear from below him, leaving a human-shaped loud moaning machine in his place instead, who held onto him as if he feared he'd die if he let go…

But Naruto had to admit that all the moaning, the whimpering, all those times his name was said in that infinitively seductive voice were taking its toll on him too, making him more aroused even as he moved unforgiving inside Gaara, but he guessed that it was all for the best. Every once in a while the redhead would demand more and the blond was more than glad to comply, making Gaara's pleasure his top priority as his mouth caressed the parts of the other's body his busy hands couldn't, and realizing that it always led to his own pleasure as well… He loved this man more than anything and knew that nothing would make him happier than seeing him happy too, and that was why his heart was filled with something unexplainably good every time the Kazekage cried out in unmistakable pleasure, that was why those would always be the best moments in his life…

The two of them were too inexperienced for their lovemaking to last long, and soon they began feeling the signs that the end was coming. Several despaired breaths began leaving Gaara's mouth in between whimpers and he felt tighter to Naruto as well, but when their orgasm hit the both of them almost at the same time, it felt like they were holding all the answers to the universe in their hearts, as if all their past actions had been justified because of that very moment, and that it was somewhat meant to be that they were together… The redhead moaned out his name one last time while the blond merely buried his head on his chest as they spilled themselves, the two of them unavoidably drained from all the activity…


And then it ended…

It took them a few minutes for them to recover the least, arms and legs still wrapping them close together, the blond still inside the redhead and all their skin still feeling the heightened pleasure of contact in their post-climax, as their breaths struggled to calm down. It had been their first time, so it wasn't perfect. But since nothing is really perfect, perfection to them had flaws, and to them it had been the perfect first time, flaws included.

When Naruto felt like he could already articulate words, he snuggled his head closer to the other's neck and asked, his voice muffled and rough, "So… how was that for you…?"

Gaara's hands travelled to the other's bottom, his eyes still shut as he replied, "Oh, Naruto, you are one hundred percent approved…"

The blond managed to raise his head without opening his eyes yet, his lips brushing over the redhead's as he continued, "You know you are an amazing lover too, don't you, Gaa-chan?"

The redhead smiled smugly at the nickname, glad that Naruto could transform his name given out of death into something so loving. "That's because I have the best partner possible…"

The two young men then remained in a rustling silence for quite a while, still recovering, but Gaara still felt the motivating feeling from before guiding him forward and, before he knew it, he felt the will to let it all out and he started talking.

And it wasn't the usual one-sentenced talks he would give to people, it was a full speech. It started with Gaara whispering to several blond locks of hair and it continued as the two heads opened their eyes and faced each other. The Kazekage told Naruto everything he had kept inside before, with words he had left unspoken, even if they had been evident through their recent actions. He gave the inspired speech about Naruto that everyone else had heard but the blond himself, he explained how he had felt about him throughout all these years and all the impact he had had in his life, how much he had helped him without knowing it. He told him that he meant more to him than anyone could ever understand, and he told him how happy he was that he even allowed him to gain the courage he needed to get what he had always wanted.

Naruto listened to all that first out of curiosity but then out of raw interest and wonderment, all too surprised to see the impact he had had in that so special person… He then spoke too, revealing hidden feelings and thoughts that had been welling up for far too long, from when Gaara died and he thought he would lose one of the most important parts of his life, from when he was away and Naruto would think of him, from when he had felt lonely because of being a demon host and he craved for the redhead's company…

This talk stretched itself for a long time, even when they were already recovered. They were so caught up on it that it developed into something complete and beautiful, into something that deepened their already strong connection. Eventually they would wander off to other topics than themselves and it felt wonderful. Gaara would be curious about the many items Naruto had in his room and the blond would want to know many things about his life that he had never dared to ask, but on that moment there were no limitations… They had always known they were the same, but they were also very different, and it was the part about knowing all those little differences between them that would make their relationship even the more worthwhile.

In each other's arms, they would talk, until their close touching eventually took control of them again and, Naruto smirking mischievously while Gaara gave him a wide "it-wasn't-me" look, returned to other also extremely pleasurable activities, with the blond fulfilling every promise he had made before with the expression "when we get home", one after the other, all of them profoundly delectable to Gaara and always taking him by surprise. Naruto discovered other body fluids of the redhead that too would be a great addition to ramen, but this one in particular he wouldn't mention to the old man, not only because he would certainly find it completely inappropriate, but also (and this was the blond's main reason) because he wouldn't want to share it with anyone else. Gaara decided not to comment on that.

After all the promises were fulfilled, the Kazekage himself had tasted (and enjoyed) the saltiest substance of Naruto's repertoire, their bodies were completely drained of energy and the transparent bottle was practically empty. But they still found naturally the will and the subject to talk to each other every time and, above all, Gaara was very happy to know that his relationship with the blond would always have those two faces of it: the passion and the profound connection, to make it surely survive the time and distance that would keep them apart. Their skins still couldn't bear to lose contact with each other, such was the hunger burning on them…

But, unfortunately, the good time of their talking combined with the good time of their lovemaking and touching worked together to make the morning arrive horrifyingly faster, and even when Naruto wanted to believe it was still the streetlights illuminating them and not the sun, the birds started chirping to get him out of his illusion. Even without having slept for one second, that time had not been enough, and it would never be…

Lazily, the two young men got inside the bath together, getting a very much needed shower, but the blond was still stubborn not to let his lover go anywhere, and he did all in his power to sabotage Gaara's departure, including throwing the redhead's clothes out of the window (but forgetting that sand could have them back easily) and lying his naked body tangled in thin sheets very seductively over the bed, hair more scuffled than ever and honey skin dotted red in very suspicious areas, saying things like, "Come ooooon, Gaa-chan… I'll let you top this time…"

But no matter how much those techniques were affecting him, the Kazekage couldn't give in… If there was a part of Tsunade's words from the previous day that he still dreaded was what would happen to Naruto if he still was with him when she appeared, and he wanted to avoid that at all cost… So, he merely replied, mockingly, as he got dressed, "Let me? You know I could be top anytime I'd want…"

"Then prove it to me…" was the blond's sole challenge.

The redhead really had to struggle to maintain his convictions at that sentence, but his will power helped him continue to get dressed. He had to say something to Naruto, because a part of him was too feeling sad that he would have to leave in a few minutes…

When the last item of clothing had been perfectly put on, Gaara sat on the bed again and ran a hand over the delectable skin exposed to him, his apologetic eyes fixating Naruto's pleading ones. Oh, how he wished to comply to them… but he couldn't, not that time…

"Naruto, are you making me regret convincing you to spend our night like this?" the redhead merely asked, a finger circling the other's lips.

But the blond merely shook his head, big, round, cerulean eyes immediately saddened. "No, I wouldn't change anything of last night… but… but I'm really going to miss you…"

Gaara quickly laid by the other's side and brought him to his arms like he had done so many times, replying, "I know… I'm going to miss you so much too… But imagine it when we see each other again… Imagine just how thrilling it will feel when we get together again… Time will pass by faster like this, believe me. I know I'll be looking forward to that…"

The redhead would know of that well, he had waited eagerly almost three years to see the blond again…

"I guess I will too…"


"But it is really unfair…"

"I know. But one day it won't be, one day will have all the time for each other. That is my promise for you."

And those words seemed to bring a huge smile to Naruto's lips, and he knew he would keep that promise, even if it took all of his power to do it…

"Now, let's get you dressed, we still have to start a scandal at the train station before I leave and we don't have much time."

The blond was very excited at that proposition and put on his clothes in record time because of that. Soon both of them were ready to face the unwanted outside, but not without being connected by more than hands, draping an arm over the other's shoulder. Nonetheless, despite the lack of sleep and complete tiredness, they looked bizarrely happy, as if they were under the influence of some kind of drug. The smug smile wouldn't get off their faces, making the somber people around them, never happy about having to wake up that early, face them with disdain.

It didn't take them long to get to the train station like that, but with each step taken, a piece of them fell away. Even the city seemed to have lost part of its life… When they arrived there, the huge train was already waiting, so the scandal Gaara was planning had to be quick.

Standing next to the vehicle, the redhead wrapped lean arms around his boyfriend one last time and kissed him in a way he knew it would linger until they met again. Naruto applied the same strength and embrace in it and, in plain view, everyone else there stared awkwardly at the scene. Even the conductor, who had received strict orders to make sure the Kazekage would ride that train, didn't know if he should let them be or interrupt them, so he opted for doing nothing.

Eventually the two of them separated in mouths, but they still wouldn't let go in arms, heads rested on shoulders…

"Until next time then?..." Naruto asked after a while.

"Until next time… And it would be wonderful if you could spend winter at the Sand, since it's not as cold as here… It would be kind of… poetic."

The embrace transformed into them just holding hands, the blond grinning sadly as he replied, "Oh, I will nag the old hag so much she will practically beg me to go, you'll see! I wouldn't miss it for the world!"

Gaara nodded just as sadly, one hand letting go while the other arm extended to its full reach. Before that other hand let go, though, the Kazekage gathered sand under it, making it squeeze the blond's hand instead.

With that, the redhead reluctantly left the delicious contact, moving towards the train while his eyes were still on his melancholic lover's, his sand doing what his hand wished it could do. When the Kazekage climbed the stairs to the train and stood by the small balcony it had by the door, the conductor painfully got inside, feeling a bit guilty that he had to ruin such a lovely moment.

It didn't take long for the train to be working and start moving forward, for Naruto with his arm extended and sand gripping his hand become smaller by the second. But, that time, neither of them looked sad, they were smiling. The words from before echoed inside the both of them: one day they would be together for good, and they knew they could rely on that promise for life… Besides, in three months time they would meet again, and who knew which added tricks would be up their sleeves?

Eventually, Naruto became nothing but a small speck and the station was already considerably far away. Eventually, the train made a turn and the redhead could no longer feel his sand or his lover's hand around it anymore.

Once again, Gaara languidly took a seat inside the train, letting the vehicle drive him to a place he was somberly sure to make him unhappy.

What was it with trains and this terrible fate of theirs? As he looked at the forest rushing by him through the window, he couldn't find an answer to that, but there was one thing he was sure of…

Next time they'd be used, it wouldn't be like that.

Next time they'd be used, the most important thing of his life would be coming to him.

Outside, leaves were beginning to leave their tree-mothers in flocks.

Summer was ending.

But Gaara wouldn't feel cold. He touched his still reddened lips.

An angel had set his heart on fire, and he would hold onto that warmth all throughout the cold season.

And, one day, there wouldn't be any cold seasons at all…

"Always the summers are slipping away…"


Yay, I've finally finished this!

Paula serves her prawns with chocolate and spice! :D

Hope you enjoyed every bit of it, even though it is so long, and please tell me what you think!

This is the end of the story, so no more updates are expected here…

kathlaida-princess logging out…